Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Summary 2009 WY 15

Summary of Decision issued February 9, 2009

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

Case Name: Guinn v. State

Citation: 2009 WY 15

Docket Number: S-08-0130

Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, Honorable Peter G. Arnold, Judge

Representing Appellant (Guinn): Diane M. Lozano, Wyoming State Public Defender; Tina N. Kerin, Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Appellate Counsel.

Representing Appellee (State): Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Jeremy C. Schwendiman, Student Intern.

Date of Decision: February 9, 2009

Issues: Whether the district court improperly punished the appellant for exercising his constitutional right to a jury trial.

Facts: The appellant was convicted by a jury of third-degree sexual assault. He complains on appeal that, in imposing sentence, the district court improperly punished him for exercising his right to a jury trial.

Holdings: There is a clear rule of law allowing courts to grant leniency in sentencing to someone who has acknowledged guilt by pleading guilty, but forbidding courts from penalizing or punishing someone who has exercised his or her constitutional right to a jury trial. The district court positively declared at sentencing that it was appropriate to consider the fact that the appellant chose to go to trial. At the very least, the record certainly leaves open the possibility that the district court's sentencing decision was based in part upon that consideration. Courts simply may not punish defendants for the exercise of constitutional rights. The district court violated the appellant's constitutional right to a jury trial by considering at sentencing his exercise of that right.

The judgment is affirmed, but the sentencing order is reversed and the case is remanded to the district court for a new sentencing hearing.

C.J. Voigt delivered the opinion for the court.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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